Photo of Sam Mendes Sam Mendes

A British stage director who made a much-heralded leap to feature films with the provocative drama American Beauty (1999), Sam Mendes was born Aug. 1, 1965, in Reading, England. After graduation from Cambridge University, he honed his skills with the Chichester Festival Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

As artistic director of the West End's Donmar Warehouse in the 1990s, Mendes ushered in an exciting new era for the London theater scene. He also steered actors Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson through Tony-winning performances in the acclaimed 1998 Broadway revival of "Cabaret."

Despite the success of American Beauty -- which earned Mendes an Oscar, among a slew of other accolades -- his film résumé remains short, largely because of his ongoing love for theater. Still, his cinematic choices reveal a penchant for thought-provoking dramas with complex themes.

Sam Mendes in Spectre


2015 PG-13

James Bond continues his run of romance and foreign intrigue in this tense thriller that pits him against the global terrorist organization SPECTRE. Already battling political interference, MI6 and Bond must again take on their most implacable foe.

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